Are Online College Degrees Worth the Paper They’re Printed On?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by _T_, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. _T_

    _T_ New Member

  2. Cyber

    Cyber New Member

    Very interesting article/study. If you have a degree from an online-only school, the article makes you feel less uncertain about the utility/acceptability of that degree. From what many say in this forum, HR folks pay less attention to what type of school (online-only versus b & M) your degree was earned from. In reality, however, the type of company one seeks employment at, the type of job, as well as the general profile of the job candidate play an important part in whether they are hired or not. Companies like Google, Intel and many of the big oil companies are notorious for not accepting degrees from online-only schools regardless of the applicant's personal profile (job experience, credit and criminal background, etc.).

    While one would think that this trend should be opposite - that is; more companies of this caliber should accept degrees earned from non-traditional institutions, the truth is that many of us with these degrees (from online-only schools) worry about our the overall utility of our "online degrees." It would be interesting to see the result of another research that investigates the extent to which those with degrees from B & M schools and online-only schools proudly showcase their degrees.

    Sadly, many are hiding their "online degrees," especially, those with two degrees at the same level (example, two masters - one from B & M and the second from an online-only school). They do not even list their "online degrees" on their resumes/CVs anymore because doing so may actually reduce their chances. As optimistic as that article sounds, I'm afraid online college degrees are probably on worth the paper they're printed on. That explains why many traditional colleges are rushing to cash in on providing DL degrees because they see the demand for it, driven in large part, by the retrogressive progress (which are trumpeted by Professors from B & M schools) in the general acceptability of online college degrees.

    One observation: Some months ago, many in this forum proudly displayed their online college degrees on their signature line. Looking around now, alot of those signature lines are either empty, or those degrees from online-only schools removed. While this many not be unconnected with recent discussions regarding the extent to which online college degrees are discriminated against, it is sad that many in this forum with doctoral degrees from online colleges do not even showcase their academic accomplishment.
  3. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I removed mine just because I did not want to list them anymore. No real reason other then that. I am sure that will change at some point.
  4. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Actually, Intel's policy (which is reportedly shared by companies like Fedex and Lockheed Martin) does not address online schools specifically. Intel wants degrees with the highest levels of professional accreditation, specifically AACSB for business degrees and ABET for engineering degrees. It's true that this policy generally excludes online-only schools, but it is not specifically directed at such schools, because it excludes many B&M schools as well.

    Realistically, one significant limitation to a degree from an online-only school is that such schools often don't have (and may not be eligible for) the most respected forms of professional accreditation; e.g. AACSB for business, ABET for engineering, ABA for law, APA for psychology, etc. This is obviously a drawback in a competitive job market; however, it is not limited to online-only schools.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2010
  5. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Interesting read.
  6. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    According to, there are at least 69 AACSB accredited business schools offering online degree programs.
  7. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Post #2, which raised the issue of corporate policies at firms like Intel, referred specifically to "online-only" schools. The response in Post #4 also referred specifically to "online-only" schools.

    There may be many AACSB-accredited business schools offering online degrees -- but how many of them are "online-only" schools? Aren't most -- or all -- of them originally established and AACSB-accredited as B&M institutions?

    It's probably true that firms like Intel won't discriminate against online degrees, as long as those online degrees meet their standards for professional accreditation. However, the most respected forms of professional accreditation are typically associated with B&M institutions. This doesn't help posters like #2 above, who have degrees from "online-only" schools.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2010
  8. I wonder if organizations that discriminate against "online degrees" would be open to degrees earned online from institutions like MIT or Stanford. I think a ban on "online degrees" is really a ban on UoP and related.
  9. Cyber

    Cyber New Member

    That is exactly what is going on. There is a movement (by many professors from B & M schools) that seeks to discourage employers and the general public from accepting degrees from online-only for-profit schools. These professors are not happy that some of these online schools are making astronomical profits when some of their jobs are threaten due to budgets cuts. If these online schools did not exists, tuition dollars that go to online-only schools would all go to their schools and their jobs would be more secure.

    With that in mind, you see why this trend is getting worse when online degrees should be more accepted, especially, since many people are aware that DL programs are indeed very demanding and rigorous (in many regards, online students pay schools for them to tell the students what to study on their own). Also, while the level of discrimination differ based on geographical location, in my opinion, degrees from online colleges are perceived worst in the southern part of the U.S.

    Step in front of a potential employer (non-government) with an online degree in a state like Texas, see how you'd be rejected, and they will let you know that you do not even have a degree that you think you do. Oil companies are very notorious for doing this. There is thread in this forum that a hiring staff once said" they will never hire folks with internet degrees from any internet only school. That thread was more about NCU, but these are the types of perceptions that many are driving.

    In sum, the issue with online degrees is not the format it was earned, it is with the schools where the degrees are earned. The idea is that degrees earned from B & M schools are respected the same way as those earned on campus because the format is often not disclosed, and the content and professors are usually the same for both formats. Internet-only schools are not considered credible institutions (even though they are accredited) because those who run it or teach there do no participate in scholarly activities enough to qualify them to teach others or share their knowledge. They are looked as profit generating businesses, sadly.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2010

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